Ace Hardware, Costco top-rated home improvement, furnishings stores

U.S. consumers voted Ace Hardware as their favorite home improvement store and Costco as their favorite home furnishings retailer, according to a new study by Market Force Information.

The study polled 2,000 consumers and found that Ace Hardware took the lead with a composite loyalty score of 61 percent. Menards came in second, at 50 percent, followed by Lowe's, Home Depot and Walmart.

Ace Hardware has been rolling out new initiatives in the past year to improve the shopping experience for its customers. Last month the retailer announced the launch of its new free in-store pickup program, in addition to same-day delivery testing in a handful of stores.

Market Force examined how the brands rank in operational and product attributes and Ace Hardware ranked first in nearly every category, with strong marks for organized products and fast checkouts. However, Menards scored highest for merchandise selection.

Most home improvement brands fared well in cleanliness and checkout speed but lagged in their selections of green or eco-friendly products.

"More than anything else, our home improvement and home furnishings retailer study reinforced our belief that, in order to increase satisfaction and sales, it's no longer good enough to just be good enough," said Cheryl Flink, chief strategy officer for Market Force Information. "With fierce competition and plenty of choices available, retailers should be striving to delight every customer on attributes related to service, value, atmosphere and merchandise."  

Looking at home furnishings rankings, Costco earned a loyalty score of 63 percent, followed by Target at 57 percent and Bed Bath and Beyond, Kohl's, and Walmart trailing close behind.

Overall, consumers expressed the highest satisfaction with store cleanliness and high value, and the lowest satisfaction was related to the availability of green or eco-friendly products.

Mobile app usage was higher for home furnishings than home improvement, with Target as the clear leader—one in four consumers reported using the app. Meanwhile, Kohl's had the most popular loyalty program.

For more:
-See this New Market Force Information press release

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